** Note: There are a few mentions of my pregnancy in this post. **
This weekend, I went away for a night. No husband. No Cupcake. Just me and three girlfriends heading north to a cabin on a lake. Along for the ride were:
- Lillian, whom is probably my closest friend and you’ll remember her from this post and this one. She is bouncing back terrifically after her loss earlier this year, but remains fearful and anxious of going through it again.
- Leigh, whom I haven’t talked a lot about but who is another huge support to me and probably my second closest friend. She has known about my journey from the beginning and has never let one stupid comment come from her lips. She offered to watch Cupcake for me, so Honey and I could go alone to my early ultrasounds in this pregnancy and, last year on Mother’s Day, she was the one friend to e-mail me, knowing how hard it must be having just lost Teddy Graham. All of this, and she’s never even walked in our shoes.
- Maggie, who is pregnant with her fourth child (due in July). She’s a wonderful woman (though very different from myself) and has had her own experience with infertility, but I bemoaned her most recent pregnancy announcement in this post.
We ate a lot, laughed a lot, and a had such a good time. It was so quiet there, so relaxing, and I even learned to crochet, which I have been wanting to do for some time. But even with all of those bright spots in our weekend, there were times when I was gripped by a deep sense of abandonment and loss, and for once, I am not talking about the loss of our Teddy. By the time we drove away from the cabin yesterday evening, I was one eye blink and swallowed lump-in-my-throat away from tears.
Let me explain: I am very good friends with both Lillian and Leigh. We all have similar personalities and both of them have walked alongside me on this journey, in their own private ways; both of them knew of Skittle’s existence the same day that I did; and both of them will be at our gender reveal party in two weeks. In the beginning, Lil and Leigh were good friends, but I was closer to each of them. Now? They’re besties. Like, truly. They do everything together, from morning playdates with their kids to evenings out at least once a week to weekend camping trips with their families. I don’t know how or when it happened, but somewhere along the way as I was engulfed by my grief, my fight for another pregnancy, and my focus on keeping Skittle alive, I became the third wheel.
And this was never more evident than during our stay at the cabin. Lillian and Leigh roomed together (while I shared a room with Maggie, whom I like but don’t know nearly as well) — and stayed up late into the night talking, while we preggos went right to sleep. They laughed over their inside jokes. They reminisced about things they’ve done together over the last year. They talked about how much their kids adore one another. And when Lillian mentioned that her husband may accept a job across the country, I saw Leigh’s face fall and Lil went on and on about how much she’d miss Leigh, with no mention of Maggie or I. It was hard to hear, especially multiple times over the span of 36 hours or so. By the end, I was feeling incredibly rejected and left out. Certainly, that was not their intention, but it was hurtful nonetheless.
And unlike many times in my life, this is not a question of whether or not they like me at all. I have totally had those moments, not even so long ago (see this post as an example), but I’m long past that now. I have solid examples that I important to them: Like, last weekend, Lillian and Leigh invited me along to lunch. I make them laugh, hard. They both wanted to listen to the baby’s heartbeat while at the cabin. And they’re planning to throw a joint shower for Maggie and I this summer — which has left me incredibly awed and humbled to have friends who would do that for me. I know that they care about me. I know they value our friendship.
But I want what they have. I want to be included. I want my own bestie. Or two. It’s not easy for me to make friends, especially because I’m no longer going to school or working outside the home, and most especially because I’m so shy and insecure. I have worked hard to sustain these friendships and it stings to think that I maybe could have had that super tight bond, with each of them, if it wasn’t for my loss, or infertility, or Lillian’s miscarriage, or something else that eludes me. It stings to think that, when I wasn’t even looking, they bypassed me for each other. That being who am I just wasn’t enough. I hate that I left our girls’ weekend away feeling bad about myself, feeling inadequate, sad, and lonely. I hate that so much and I’m trying to get to a place where I can let go of the hope to someday be a part of their inner circle and just accept, and be happy with, the friendships I do have with them.
But last night, walking into my house, I have never been happier to leave my friends and return to my family. More than anything, I needed to be with people who think the world of me, who light up when they see me, whom love me more than they love anyone else. Honey, Cupcake, and our little doggie Junebug did not disappoint. Their joy at having me back was palpable and, when I started crying, my husband just held me and listened to everything I needed to say.
And there’s one other thing: I didn’t feel Skittle move about much over the weekend, but whenever I did, it made my heart swell. It was a reminder that, even when I felt utterly alone, I was not. Inside of me is a baby who needs me, a baby who will love me, a baby who will mean more to me than any dear friend ever will. And there’s solace to be found in that.
Wonderful comfort and solace.